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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

ALEXANDER  VON  HTOEBOLDT.                195
CHAPTER XI.
THE   SENSE  FOR   THE ENJOYMENT  OP    NATURE   IN    OPPOSITION  TO  OB-
JECTIVE   OBSERVATION----NATUBE AS A MEANS O!F IMPROVEMENT FOE
THE  MIND  AND   HEART----HISTORY  OF   A    PHYSICAL   VIEW    OF    THE
WORLD.
WE have given the chief features of Humboldt's
general views of the physical arrangement of the
world in a brief summary. But, as we had occasion
to remark in his short biography, an important feature
in Humboldt's character is, that he not only thinks
and observes, but that he also feels, and that he dis-
covers the beautiful in form and movement, as clearly
as he describes it. Natural science is to him, not a
matter of memory, but of life, not only mental acti-
vity., but mental improvement., not only the know-
ledge of the world beyond us, but a means for the
better development of ourselves.
Humboldt teaches us in a most attractive manner^
how natural studies can be a means of civilisation
how man may be thereby induced to perceive the
reflection of the outer world $n his own imaginative
power, by the feeling of poetical enjoyment and repro-
duction, by the art of landscape painting, by the
cultivation of plants and of exotic flowers, and finally,
by understanding the great natural laws, first in detail,
and then gradually in their entirety. This Humboldt
teaches us in a most attractive way. At the conclusion
of his picture of nature, he departs from the purely
physical contemplation of natural objects,a contem-
plation which he has throughout purposely denuded
of everything approaching to an imaginative garb,
and proceeds to investigate the subject with regard to
its influence on the feelings of the human mind.
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